GREAT FUTURE IN FOOD PROCESSING! Minister for Industries Mauvin Godinho released a report on “State Government Initiatives for Women Entrepreneurs,” along with other dignitaries Manguirish Pai Raikar, (ASSOCHAM Goa State Council chairperson), Dr Milind R Bhirud (NABARD Goa Regional Office GM), Arun Mishra (IAS, Secretary of Department of Agriculture, Goa government), Dr Sagar Salgaocar (ASSOCHAM co-chairperson) and others. Elsewhere, glimpses of food processing start-ups by women entrepreneurs who are doing well…from Nanu farms there’s “Kalparasa” coconut neero (a health drink rich in lauric acid, (as good as mother’s milk)! and that’s Kusum Tirkey, “the mother of the farm produce” (she can also take a bow for climbing coconut trees). The Nanu Farms coconut sap sugar is a piece de resistance product too. The ladoo lady is Anuradha P Kulkarni!

THERE were some sober speakers at ASSOCHAM’s food processing conference and if nothing else it good news to hear ASSOCHAM Goa State Council’s chairperson, Mangurish Pai Raikar, that agricultural-based business is booming in India with exports doing very well. Goa is doing well in the export of marine produce, nutraceuticals, liquor (e.g. Big Banyan liquors), wines, caju and much else, “In the last five years there’s been a sea change with more and more agricultural produce being exported…” The Middle East, Egypt, Turkey, China are interested in our value-added agricultural produce! So we in Goa should concentrate on making our young educated people realize that there is a fortune to be earned in reviving and managing their family’s rusticating fields …grow orchids, grow exotic vegetables and fruit, grow spices, “bankers are ready to finance food processing, more self-help groups should avail of the government schemes available.” In a nutshell, the future is in agriculture and it is already happening, just join in!
Did you know that Goa’s agricultural business has a turnover of Rs25,000 crore annually? Unfortunately, data collection is poor, otherwise this figure would be more! Make what you want of this bit of input. Reviving farming is also one of Prime Minister Modi’s personal penchants! In short in Goa we shouldn’t be depending on manipulative mausi Maharashtra and evil mama Karnataka for our food, especially vegetables and fruit. Anyway, there is a growing number of farms now and maybe soon this foodie dependencies will be over in the near future.
IT’S always delightful to catch up with the Self Help Group women’s businesses being show-cased at the venue of the conference, mostly excellent snacks, sweets, pickles, confectionary and some of it genuinely health-conscious. Those with agricultural farms need not despair going organic for there is a market in rich Goa! There were the usual showpieces of the Goa State Biodiversity Board project of Govan’s range of produce comprising its nutmeg candy which I love so much! There was Priyanka Gupta of Oomah pickles, Lalita Shaikh of Bake Shop doing cakes with organic wheat and jaggery, using seeds, dry fruit…her leaflet tells about almonds, walnuts, pista being a great source of fibre, good for the skin, eyes and memory, “walnuts have omega 3 which is excellent for brain development” and pista “promotes healthy gut bacteria.” A very nutritiously educated baker, indeed!
The Nanu outlet was especially eye-opening. Goa’s Nanu Group of companies are into hotels, construction, engineering, electricals …and plantations. Incubation Manager Abhishek Singh here was proud to tell me the Nanu plantations comprise of two farms, 280 acres, and they are turning out a bounty of produce from coconut oil to the latest bottling of daily fresh neero from the coconut palms. I tasted the thin refreshing neero and wondered why I can’t get it everyday! I can, he said, this coconut neero is tapped daily and refrigerated in ice form. Nanu Farms’ coconut oil is very good so bought a bottle, wishing that at least in Goa Goa’s coconut oil would be more economical to buy!
But do check out the new Nanu organic energy booster of “Kalparasa,” this refreshing thin coconut neero drink is all kinds of good things to imbibe. They also offer seedlings, crops, spices and dairy produce …and much else including nutmeg candy. Just visit their little retail shop in Panaji. Altogether it was an interesting ASSOCHAM conference offering an insight into agricultural produce happening in Goa…or not happening for want of easy of acquiring business loans!
On that note it’s avjo, selamant datang, poiteverem, au revoir, arrivedecci, hasta la vista and vachun yeta here for now.

—Mme Butterfly

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